I’ve been thinking a lot lately about climate change. It’s been something that’s been on my mind for several years now, but recently my worries about climate change have been kicked into high gear. It’s been much warmer than usual in the Colorado mountains this fall, with little snowfall at all so far. Combined with the results of last week’s election, climate change is a topic that’s been bugging me recently more than ever.
Without getting too political, climate change should absolutely be a non-partisan issue. The facts about climate change are very clear, and we need to act aggressively, now. It doesn’t matter what political party you identify with. Everyone in this country, on this planet, is threatened in some way or another by climate change.
Climate Change Facts:
- “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” – Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations
- “Global sea level rose about 6.7 inches in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century. Global sea level is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.” – NASA Website
- “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have significantly decreased in mass. “- NASA Website
- “The northern hemisphere has lost a million square miles of spring snowpack since 1970.” – National Snow and Ice Data Center
These are all scary statistics, but that last one especially hits home for me. Over the last year, I’ve heard predictions that snowpack in the Rockies could decrease anywhere from 30-100% by 2100. No one really knows how much snowpack will decrease in the next several decades, but it’s definitely clear that IT WILL decrease significantly if nothing changes.
Negative Impacts of Decreasing Snowpack
This is worrisome for me personally not only because of the obvious reason – that it threatens one of the things I love most in this world (skiing!). Losing a favorite hobby might seem trivial compared to cities potentially ending up underwater, and it absolutely is. However, decreasing snowpack will have the following negative effects:
- Receding Glaciers: “…water supply is stored in snow pack and glaciers that melt into rivers. As this stored snow recedes to higher elevations, less will be available to feed rivers. Less snow means that glaciers are not replenished. Downstream effects include changes in timing of peak fresh water flows, power output, fish migration, and water availability in the dry summer season.” – Department of Ecology, State of Washington
- Increased Occurrences of Wildfires: As spring runoff occurs earlier, the fire seasons will increase in length. Drier conditions will increase the probability of wildfires, and more fuel will be available for forest fires, due to drought and insect infestations caused by warming temperatures. Frequency of lightning is also expected to increase as thunderstorms become more severe. – National Wildlife Federation
- Decreased Water Supply: Snowpack provides about 30% of the water California depends on for drinking, growing food, and other typical uses. Decreased snowpack means very little water to meet the needs of people, agriculture, and the environment. – Stanford University
- Winter Sports Economy Threatened: The winter sports community supports 965,000 jobs (OIA). With decreased snowpack, many or all of these jobs will be eliminated, and the economies of mountain communities will suffer tremendously. – Protect Our Winters
I’ve been overwhelmed by statistics, and often wondered what the heck I could do to help. We’ve all heard we should recycle, turn off lights, drive hybrid cars, ride our bikes to work, etc. Messages like this have become so ubiquitous they’ve almost become white noise. But even if we’re doing all these things, is it really enough? I’m not so sure it is.
Protect Our Winters ~ Advocating Climate Change Through the Outdoor Sports Community
Last month I started digging to see what else I might be able to do. One organization that I was vaguely familiar with was Protect Our Winters (POW). I felt drawn to them because of their relationship with the winter sports community, so I decided to check them out further.
Protect Our Winters was founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007. POW’s goal is to mobilize the outdoor sports community to be leaders in positive climate action. They focus on educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism. With the outdoor sports industry’s $646 billion in economic revenue, they have an influential voice that crosses party lines, and the potential to reach 60 million+ outdoor sports enthusiasts globally.
I love POW’s “POW Seven Pledge“. I encourage you to click the link and read the details for yourself, but here’s a quick summary:
- Once a month, call and/or write your elected officials and ask them to take action on climate change.
- Educate yourself and read climate change news from reputable sources every day.
- Figure out how you have influence in this world, and use that as your leverage.
- Be vocal, talk to the people in your life, write an op-ed for your local paper.
- Talk to businesses and find out what they’re doing about climate change, and tell them you’ll take your business to climate leaders.
- Change your life and save money by making little changes like buying energy smart appliances, tuning your furnace, insulating your house, changing light bulbs, using reusable water bottles, and more.
- Join POW. With 21 million winter sports enthusiasts in the US alone, our collective effort can be a major force in the climate battle and your support of POW will help us consolidate our power and mobilize most effectively.
What I’m Doing
I’ve taken the POW Seven Pledge and I encourage you to as well (or commit to your own pledge). The hardest one for me was #1 – but after talking about with friends, I’ve decided that I need to do it, even if it’s not exactly fun. Not sure what to say or who to call? POW actually has a script you can follow and a list of senators and their phone numbers here. I’m committing to making my first call (or writing my first letter) by the end of November.
I’m working on making Aligned Adventure a sustainable business, and I promise to write more about how I’m accomplishing that in the future. I don’t know where my creative business will take me exactly, but I know for sure I’m not slowing down. I’m definitely planning on growing Aligned Adventure, and I hope to be able to influence more and more customers, and to set an example for other businesses.
For the rest of 2016, I will donating 10% of proceeds from WildBlueDream.com, JuliaTaylorFineArt.com, and my Etsy shops, to Protect Our Winters. I also plan to volunteer for them when opportunities become available.
Update: please note my Christmas ordering deadlines. Order by the following dates to receive by Saturday, 12/24:
- 12/18 – all customized prints
- 12/20 – all non-custom prints
The name “Aligned Adventure” has always encompassed the dream of seeking out the wild blue yonder and living the dream of the outdoor adventure lifestyle. But I think maybe it’s bigger than that…I think it’s also about the dream of preserving our beautiful blue planet for generations to come…no matter how wild and challenging that dream may seem.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, and to hear what you are doing about climate change. As you can probably tell from this post, I’m only just starting to get very serious about my climate change action, and I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make a difference. Please feel free to leave your comments below: